We arrived in Melbourne early this morning and spent the morning playing and getting ready for Dancing Ground. Nirmala — who is travelling with us — is part of the catering team for the festival, and she used time in our friend’s house to roll her bliss balls into beautiful little spheres.

Melbourne at sunrise, seen from the Tasmanian ferry, February 2013
We arrive in Melbourne at sunrise.

Bliss balls are raw vegan sweets that don’t contain sugar. They’re popular because most people (even those on restrictive diets) can enjoy them, they pack a lot of energy, and Nirmala’s are the best.

Nirmala and Brioni rolling bliss balls, February 2013
Brioni helps Nirmala roll the bliss balls.

Bliss balls

  • 2 cups dates
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1 cup seeds or nuts
  • + flavour of your choice! (sometimes Nirmala uses peppermint or cacao)

This recipe is for a small batch and make approximately 20 balls. The ingredients should be ground together in a food processor to make a smooth mixture. Before rolling a ball, Nirmala weighs each dollop to ensure uniformity of size, making hers 40g each. Each formed ball is then rolled in desiccated coconut.

Dell playing with a little dog, Melbourne, February 2013
While Nirmala's working in the kitchen, I help out around the house. The girls love playing with the little dogs again.

The girls drive best at night-time, so in the evening we packed up and headed towards Gilwell Park where this weekend’s festival is being held. We’re arriving early, but we’ll help out where we can and will be able to settle into our camp before the main cohort of dancers arrive.

Dell sign, near Gilwell Park, February 2013
We're thrilled to find a property with Dell's name on it.

We arrived at the location well after dark, having been sent on an alternate route by police cleaning up a chemical spill on the main road. The drive was a good adventure for us all as Nirmala had a turn at driving our bus, we skirted a nearby bushfire and we got (mildly) lost and accepted help from a friendly cowboy who appeared out of the dark.

At Gilwell Park, we parked close to our friends the Lethbridges, and settled in for the night. I’m happy to be back in Victoria. Now that we’re off the ferry and camping in the bush, I feel like I can relax again. This will be a terrific weekend, and I’m glad to be in the company of friends.